Even as other, more populated parts of the state have seen the majority of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine get their shots, rural areas, including Wabash County, have struggled to catch up.

As of Friday, a total of 5,125,851 doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 2,633,546 first doses and 2,492,305 individuals who are fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated number represents individuals who have received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and those who received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) vaccine dashboard, a total of 45.7 percent of the state’s population age 16 and over are fully vaccinated.

A zip-code-by-zip-code analysis shows there are wild swings on either side of this number depending on the part of the state, though.

For example, in zip code 46077 – which includes Zionsville, Indianapolis, Carmel and Westfield – 77.4 percent of those who are eligible have been vaccinated.

By contrast, in zip code 46992, which covers Wabash, only 33.6 percent of those who are eligible have been vaccinated.

On Friday, Parkview Wabash Hospital president Marilyn J. Custer-Mitchell said she didn’t know “why rural areas have more hesitancy.”

“Locally, we promoted the clinic several ways,” said Custer-Mitchell. “Through Facebook posts and on local radio regularly.”

ISDH media relations coordinator Megan Wade-Taxter said they have stepped up their efforts statewide to meet the challenge of increasing vaccination rates in more rural areas.

“We continue to work with community partners around the state to provide education, outreach and access to vaccine in vulnerable and underserved communities,” said Wade-Taxter. This effort includes engaging trusted community leaders to help share vaccine messaging to populations that may be hesitant. We have at least one vaccine clinic located in every county and are sending mobile vaccination units to underserved areas around the state to ensure equitable access to vaccine.”

On Friday, the ISDH announced today that 571 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 742,910 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard.

To date, 13,179 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 13 from the previous day. Another 416 probable deaths have been reported to date based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

A total of 3,493,567 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 3,490,024 on Thursday. A total of 10,410,165 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26, 2020.

To find testing sites around the state, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.

Hoosiers age 12 and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine; individuals younger than age 18 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only. To find a vaccination clinic near you, visit https://ourshot.in.gov or call 211 if you do not have access to a computer or require assistance. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are accepted at most sites.

Appointments and walk-ups are welcome at the former Roosevelt High School in Gary, which is offering both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines. The Gary clinic is offering vaccinations from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. CDT at 2401 Harrison St., Gary, IN 46407 today and will operate from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT on Saturday, the final day of the clinic. Free transportation to and from the site is available through the Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC). Language interpretation and support for those with disabilities, hearing or vision impairments are also available onsite.

Mobile vaccination clinics are also available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at McMillen Park, 3901 Abbott St., Fort Wayne; and the Civil Rights Heritage Center, 1040 W. Washington St., South Bend.

Patients with an appointment at a state-hosted public vaccination site can get a free Uber or Lyft ride. Call 2-1-1 or (866) 211-9966 to receive a voucher to cover the cost of an Uber ride to and from your vaccination appointments. IU Health offers free Lyft rides to any vaccine site in the state. Call 888-IUHEALTH (888-484-3258) and choose option 9 if you need transportation to your vaccine appointment.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.